News & Analysis

  1. uber

    NY Times op-ed calls for leadership changes at Uber

    “Companies that never grow up tend to go the way of Groupon or MySpace, two now-faded comets. As good as Uber’s app is, there are limits to how much bad publicity it can absorb before it hurts the bottom line. At Uber, the inmates are running the asylum. That needs to change, while there’s still time.” – NY Times
  3. uber-bullshit

    Uber’s smear machine thinks you’re a total idiot

    Uber’s attempt to silence and smear journalists reporting on its business practices has moved into its next phase. Let’s call this one “Operation Nothing To See Here.” If you recall, earlier this week Buzzfeed’s Ben Smith reported that a senior Uber executive, Emil Michael, had boasted of a $1m plan to do “oppo” research on journalists who criticized the company. In particular, Buzzfeed named Pando’s Sarah Lacy as the main target of the plan: Over dinner, he outlined the notion of…
  4. Startup politics

    What Medium’s big play for politicians says about the platform’s future

    With the latest midterm elections at a close, politicians and analysts have now set their ramblings and pontificating on the 2016 Presidential race. With adoption on online networks even greater today than ever before, another parallel race appears to be taking shape: The fight between digital platforms to become the go-to destination whenever a politician or political operative has something to share with voters. To this end, Medium has announced a new job listing: The role of Partner Development, Politics, Government,…
  5. Screen Shot 2014-11-21 at 2.04.01 PM

    “A productive member of society”: Talking immigration with Jose Antonio Vargas

    It’s been quite the week here at Pando, but at times like this it’s good to have one’s own problems put in perspective. So it was on Tuesday night when Sarah Lacy and I went to a screening room in San Francisco to watch Jose Antonio Vargas’ remarkable documentary, Documented. The film was originally released in 2013 but is now being considered as a possible Oscar contender. And the timing of the screening was appropriate for a second reason: A few hours…
  7. weev

    ‘weev’ in Beirut: I can’t go home until “most of the agents of the federal government are dead.”

    “The only hope I have of returning to the land I love, where I was kidnapped at gunpoint and had my house bulldozed, is if there is a such a consistent level of change that most of the agents of the federal government are dead. I want to go home but I can’t.” It’s late on a Tuesday evening and I’m sitting with Andrew Auernheimer in the posh environs of east Beirut’s Achrafieh neighborhood. The man most people know by…
  8. Surf Air sunset

    Maturing Surf Air adds new planes, new routes, and fresh appeal to its membership-based airline

    Surf Air is growing up and it’s got some new toys to reflect that maturity. The first in the company’s arsenal of shiny new objects is a brand new Pilatus PC-12NG Aircraft. The second is a new route to sunny San Diego. In both cases, the company has more of the same on the way in the coming months. After announcing its all-you-can-fly, membership-driven airline concept in early 2012 and then flying its maiden public flight in summer…
  9. uber

    Former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates is joining Uber

    According to ABC, former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates will take a voluntary role as chairman of Uber Military. Gates says he is “proud to be a part of this unprecedented effort by a single company to ensure that tens of thousands of our nation’s military members, veterans and spouses have access to a unique entrepreneurial opportunity.” [Source: ABC]
  11. pando-breaking-news-small

    EU wants to break up Google

    According to a draft motion seen by the Financial Times, the European Commission will call for a break-up of Google, which would result in an “unbundling [of] search engines from other commercial services.” [Source: Financial Times — paywalled]
  12. uber

    NYC taxi drivers ask TLC to suspend Uber’s license

    Taxi drivers in New York have asked the Taxi & Limousine Commission to pull Uber’s license to operate in the city after it was revealed that the company used a tool called “God View” to learn about a BuzzFeed reporter’s ride history. [Source: The Guardian]
  14. pando-breaking-news-small

    Amazon reportedly planning ad-supported video service

    Amazon is developing a video-streaming service that relies on advertising to undercut the price of similar services from Netflix or Hulu, according to the New York Post, which says the service is expected to debut early next year. [Source: The New York Post]
  15. poker_fab

    How once high-flying Fab’s sale for parts is both worse and not as bad as it seem

    Oh how the mighty have fallen. Just 17 months ago, investors were strapping Fab with a $1 billion valuation and talking about it as the next Amazon. Today, we get news that the company is in talks to sell to PCH International for a whiplash-inducing $15 million, according to TechCrunch – roughly the banking fee on the company’s most recent funding round. Ouch. So what went wrong and is this fall in value as bad as it seems? The…
  16. aereo_antenna_array2

    Aereo admits defeat, files for bankruptcy

    Aereo seems to have finally accepted its demise. The company announced today that it has filed for bankruptcy to “maximize the value of its business and assets without the extensive cost and distraction of defending drawn out litigation in several courts.” The absurd tale is over. It’s taken a while for Aereo to admit defeat. The company fought to survive after the Supreme Court ruled in June that its service was violating the Copyright Act of 1976 because it acted…
  18. nsa-eff-greenpeace-airship

    Utah might stop sending water to an NSA data center — in 2021

    Here’s a novel solution to the National Security Agency’s surveillance programs: shut off the water that will allow its data centers to store and analyze unimaginable amounts of information without turning into a puddle of melted hard drives. It’s hard to conduct digital surveillance when the estimated one-million gallons of water sent to critical areas each day stops flowing. That’s not quite what Utah legislators discussed on Wednesday — their proposal involves the suspension of the NSA’s water service contract in 2021,…
  19. elsewhere

    China tries to get World Internet Conference attendees to support its policies

    China attempted to get World Internet Conference attendees to agree to a proposed declaration that called for stricter porn controls, the destruction of “all dissemination channels of information of violent terrorism,” and respect for individual countries’ Internet sovereignty. The declaration, which was literally slipped under attendees’ doors the day before many were scheduled to leave, wasn’t released. [Source: TechCrunch]
  20. Overheard

    “Beyond structural gender disparities, many respondents complained of a ‘macho, misogynist culture’, with bosses organizing events at strip clubs, and frequent commentary on women’s bodies the norm. That culture was reinforced elsewhere, with female staff told to smarten up, wear lipstick, and some required to attend trade shows where ‘booth babes’ – scantily-clad models promoting products – were commonplace.”

    — The Guardian, after polling readers on Valley sexism


The Week in Review